A major event took place this week, and it had nothing to do with heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. It was the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show! The Westminster Dog Show is the second-oldest continuously-running sporting event in the country, second only to the Kentucky Derby. The first show was held in 1877, and dog lovers know – it’s a Big Deal. And this year's event was especially exciting because six new breeds were added to the show.
My pug, Peanut, loves to watch television – especially when it is a show (or commercial) about dogs (or any other animal, or anything that resembles an animal, or cartoon critters, or children). I can't watch the dog show when she's around because she jumps up, paws on the front of the TV stand, and barks while attempting to launch herself into the television screen. While this is really funny to watch, she is a pug – meaning she shouldn't exert so much energy – she wears herself out after a while and can even have trouble breathing. So, for her sake, I record these types of shows and wait. I just found the perfect opportunity to watch it yesterday – with the sound off, while Peanut was sleeping.
The new breeds did quite well in the show and managed to create a buzz. If you are considering one of these breeds, here's a little more about them (and whether or not they are suitable for apartment life):
First up, the American English Coonhound. These dogs have such adorable faces, it is tempting to rush out and adopt one. But before you do – a word of caution: this is an active, energetic hunting dog. And, they are loud, with a "howling" bark, making them rather unsuitable for apartment life. These dogs want to run, they want to follow scents, and they want to chase critters up trees. The instinct to do these things is very strong, and you won't be able to curtail these behaviors. They need a lot of exercise – a lot. They are great companions for runners and they are sweet, pleasant dogs. But you might want to wait to get your American English Coondog when you buy a house. Way out in the country … with lots of wide, open spaces and no nearby neighbors.
I like dogs with funny traits – hence my flat-faced, wrinkly pug with her big, round eyes. I find her completely adorable, even beautiful, while others may find her appearance a bit … off-putting. If you also like dogs that have a rather quirky appearance, then the Cesky Terrier may be the dog for you. He has short little legs, a wedge-shaped head with a bushy beard, a mustache, and eyebrows. He also has a long, wavy coat. This dog is perfect for apartment life as long as they get regular walks. They have lots of energy and will make good jogging companions (don't let the little legs fool you – they can keep up!). They are easily trained, great with kids, and are happy, sweet, playful little dogs. They require a lot of grooming to keep the coat from tangling, so be prepared for daily brushing and regular trips to the groomer.
From tip to tail, there's nothing odd about the Entlebucher Mountain Dog's appearance. He's a handsome, happy dog -- one of those dogs that always appear to be smiling. He's smart and loves to be around "his" people – but he is reserved with strangers. These are highly active herding dogs – and they will stay highly active throughout their life. They aren't suited to apartment life because of this high energy level. The Entlebucher is very intelligent and prefers to have a purpose, so he isn't a good choice for the casual dog owner.
The Finnish Lapphund is adorable wrapped in cute. With a history that centers
on herding reindeer, this fluffy dog likes to run – a lot. He needs plenty of exercise – at least an hour a day -- but will do okay in an apartment with an active owner. If you are looking for a watch-dog, take note: he may bark at a stranger, but he is non-aggressive and submissive with people. He's an intelligent, happy, playful, medium-sized dog who is great with children. Because of his double coat, he'll do better in a colder climate. And because he's the "reindeer dog," you can name him Dasher, Prancer, Comet …
I adore the Norwegian Lundehund. He looks like a little fox, and he has six toes on each paw. He was a hunting dog back in the 1600s – he hunted puffins. (Yes, the cute black and white birds with the colorful beaks.) Because they spent a lot of time on rocky, nearly vertical terrain (where puffins nest), they are six-toed to prevent them from slipping or falling. They are non-aggressive, sweet little dogs who like to play and they do best with regular exercise. In addition to the unique six toes, the Norwegian Lundehund can turn its head at a 180-degree angle and is very flexible. They are difficult to train but respond well to crate training. They are good with children and other dogs. This is an extremely rare dog – there are less than 350 in the US.
And finally, the most unique of the bunch – the Xoloitzcuintli! Okay, so you can't
pronounce it and he's a favorite of "ugliest dog" contests, but give the little Xolo a chance! He's hairless, and he comes in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. This dog was dropped from the AKC in 1959 because the breed was believed to be extinct. But the little Xolo (show-low) is a fighter, and he's back. While some do actually have a coat, it's short, flat, and dense. This is a highly intelligent little dog with a sweet nature. He's great with kids, and is the type of dog who will follow you everywhere you go. The Xolo has no dander and (of course) he doesn't shed, so he's great for those with allergies or asthma. He's naturally a very neat, clean dog that is active when young but very mellow as an adult. These dogs radiate a warm heat and will relieve the pain of those suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, or accident-related pain.